"Examines the sociopolitical roles that sharia plays in Malaysia today. Drawing on fieldwork and textual research, it probes the contested implementation of Islamic family and criminal laws and sharia economics, and delineates cultural frameworks for understanding sharia among Muslims and non-Muslims. These include the views of Malay secular nationalists, political Islamic activists, Muslim feminists, Islamic NGOs, Sufi revivalists, liberal Muslim reformers, opposition party leaders, a non-Muslim social democratic political party, and liberal rights organizations. This thoughtful ethnography demonstrates that the way people think about sharia is often entangled with notions about race, gender equality, nation, liberal pluralism, citizenship, and universal human rights. Close investigation of the way diverse members of Malaysian society speak, write, and think about sharia reveals that ideas about sharia are not isolated from or always opposed to liberal pluralism and secularism. Intra-Muslim contests as well as Muslim and non-Muslim skirmishes chronicle revealing faultlines and suggest areas of potential compromise"--
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Introduction : sharia and the anthropology of knowledge -- Sharia in Malaysia : the historical background -- Family law : religious officials, reasoning style, and controversies -- Criminal law : taking the middle road -- Economics : the Malaysian state, Darul Arqam, and the Islamic Party of Malaysia -- Pro-sharia discourses : race, religion, and nation -- Contra-sharia discourses : Islamic and secular human rights -- Individual views, voices, and practices -- Conclusion : sharia cultural models and sociopolitical projects